Semi-Final Race 3
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat New York Yacht Club American Magic
Current: 0.2 knots @ 009
Wind 12kts / 030
Winner: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA) – 0:35
No one needed any convincing as to how important today’s racing was. The pressure was on and if there was a lesson to be
learned from yesterday’s racing for the Americans it was that they had to win, or at least be even at the start.
When American Magic delivered a different approach to the pre-start, lining up to leeward of Luna Rossa as both boats
headed in towards the start the Americans appeared to have set themselves up for a stronger start.
In the event it was even, American Magic at the pin end, Luna Rossa at the committee boat end, from here it was a drag
race to the boundary.
Once there, both boats tacked onto port simultaneously and lined up for another straight line duel, this time towards
the right hand boundary.
But sitting just to windward and astern of the Italians put the Americans in dirty air, a position that they struggled
to maintain and a few minutes later they were forced to tack off. This was the first evidence of what would turn out to
be a pattern of strong defensive play by Luna Rossa.
By the first gate Luna Rossa were 13 seconds ahead. By the bottom of the first downwind leg they had squeezed a few more
seconds out to lead by 22 secs.
While there was now a physical distance of around 300m between the two, it was clear that Luna Rossa were taking nothing
for granted, tacking to cover each time American Magic tried to break free.
“Keeping the foot on the throat” before they tacked yet again to cover their opponents. Picking the side of the course
that they wanted and controlling the situation, this was textbook match racing from the Italians.
By Gate 3 they had stretched out more distance to lead by 41sec, the race looked like it was only going one way. And yet
by Gate 4 American Magic had pulled the gap down to 18sec, could they claw back from here?
By the top gate for the last time the answer was no. Luna Rossa was the faster boat upwind and while Patriot seemed
quicker downwind it was not enough for the Americans to pull themselves back into the race.
By the end Luna Rossa crossed the finish line 35sec ahead. They had sailed another perfect race. One more victory and
they would be on for the Prada Cup final, could they smell victory?
“No, no, we don’t smell anything,” said Francesco Bruni after the race. “We don’t smell anything yet!”Credit: COR36/ Studio Borlenghi
Semi-Final Race 4
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli beat New York Yacht Club American Magic
Current: 0.1 knots @ 199
Wind 16kts / 035
Winner: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA) – 3:51
This was it, do or die for the American campaign and the chance for the Italians to move straight to the Prada Cup
final. The breeze was now up to 16kts throwing another set of conditions into the mix. Could this deliver the difference
required to keep the Prada Cup semi-final alive for another day?
This time American Magic were entering the start zone from the left-hand side on port tack and did so with perfect
timing and at pace. Next came a hint of a different strategy as American Magic headed out towards the right-hand side of
the pre-start zone.
But while this might have been a subtly different opening move, Luna Rossa were still focussed on what had worked before
and were aiming to gain control in the pre-start.
As both boats closed in on the starting line as the clock counted down, American Magic were to leeward hoping to force
Luna Rossa up, but they weren’t close enough and didn’t have the pace to accelerate into a controlling position. Luna
Rossa took the start while American Magic were forced to tack off onto port.
American hopes now were that the right-hand side of the course would be favoured, but at the first cross it was anything
but as Luna Rossa passed 130m ahead.
This was not looking good for American Magic, they were on the defensive as Luna Rossa controlled the game perfectly
once again. Poised, polished and perfect, it was difficult to see how American Magic could take this race unless the
Italians made a mistake. At this stage there was precious little evidence to support anything other than another Italian
In fact, things were about to get worse for American Magic as their starboard cant arm refused to go down ahead of a
tack onto port. Eventually it did, but not before they had overstood the layline into Gate 1.
By the time the Americans rounded they were 45sec behind, but their troubles weren’t over yet as techincal isses
continued. Then came a boundary infringement and a penalty, not that it made much difference, the distance to Luna Rossa
was now 1500m.
By the time the Americans rounded Gate 3 Luna Rossa were 2min 42sec ahead. By Gate 4 the time difference was 2min 36,
the distance over 2,000m.
Only a disaster on the part of the Italians would reverse what looked like the inevitable. As it happened the breeze had
built further and keeping a cool calm and collected was becoming increasingly important to avoid tripping up.
A few minutes later Luna Rossa crossed the finish line to win their fourth race in a row, a win that now launches them
to the Prada Cup final against INEOS Team UK.
Their victory had been well deserved. Since the start of the semi-final the Italian performance had been pitch perfect
across a wide range of conditions, in just a few days between the Round Robin and the semi-final they had turned their
"Now for the INEOS boys," was the call as they crossed the finish.
While they would doubtless celebrate this win, the Italian team’s focus had already shifted.
QUOTES FROM THE RACE COURSE
FRANCESCO BRUNI - Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Helmsman
"I think American Magic have done a fantastic job being back after what they have gone through. Their boat was a good
boat, their team was a great team and it's sad because they are great competitors. If we keep improving the performance
of the boat, with this speed, there will be some very good racing against Ben Ainslie and his Britannia. It's all about
improving, improving, improving.
In the first race of the day we sailed better upwind, we know that our foils are a little bit bigger and we can play the
high mode strategically in some moments of the race. We needed it."
TERRY HUTCHINSON – Skipper & Executive Director of New York Yacht Club American Magic
"The last four races weren't our best but the highest praise for the entire American Magic team overcoming what we did
to get the boat back out on the water, it would have been easy to stop.
It's obviously disappointing. There's not a person inside our team that likes losing, so in that you have 135 Type A
personalities all pushing for the same goal, the same result.
I think what you saw when Patriot got back out on the water was a high level of resolve from the entire team to make
sure not let the programme end like that.
I have nothing but pride for what we've done over the last 3 and half years, obviously our measure is the result sheet
so without question that is the most disappointing part, but all we can do is take it on the chin, understand our
strengths and weaknesses from here, and move the whole thing forward. If we're fortunate enough to be back in the 37th
America's Cup we'll learn from these mistakes and we'll be better for it".
Despite the Herculean effort of putting PATRIOT back on the water, American Magic are now eliminated from the PRADA Cup.
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli jump rightfully to the Final against INEOS TEAM UK less than 2 weeks away. The Italians who
seem to have find the pace after a limping Round Robin will be hard opponent to beat for the British team.
With such change in fortunes in only 9 days of racing since the first AC75 match on the 17th of December, it’s
impossible to predict who will be the 36th America’s Cup Challenger and there is plenty to watch out for in the coming
The 13-race Final between the two leading teams, will start on the 13th of February, the first team to score seven
points will win the PRADA Cup and face the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand.
Full replay of the races is available here